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Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Support Your Local Dissident Writer


Craig Murray, the author of Murder In Samarkand, whose delightful talk at the 2007 Edinburgh Book Festival I described some time ago, has a new book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known. Among other matters relating to African affairs, the "Arms to Africa" scandal is covered, in which a British mercenary company had been breaching a UN arms embargo by importing wepaons into Sierra Leone during the civil war there (the scandal arising from questions over possible collusion by the British Government). In an attempt to prevent publication of Craig's book, Tim Spicer (protagonist in the Sierra Leone affair) has had his lawyers send threatening letters to a variety of publishers and booksellers. Now Craig has been advised that his book is not libellous and that no legal challenge by Spicer would be likely to succeed. However, given the costs of defending such an action most companies have done exactly what Mr Spicer wants, which is to back away from handling the book.

Now Craig is in the process of having the book published privately. In the meantime, as a gesture of the two-fingered kind (one-fingered if you're American) to mercenaries, their lawyers, and mercenary lawyers, he is making the whole 226 pages available for download free of charge. It's a compressed pdf file of just over a megabyte, it downloads almost instantly, and I cannot recommend it too highly. Pop over to his site (also incidentally a haven of good sense on Gaza and other international news) and download it. Alternatively, buy the book. Though as he reckons each copy makes him 80p profit of which he is donating £1.00 to Amnesty International, it might be kinder to download it and make your own donation.

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